Monday, 12 February 2018

Nurture Fertility Journal - Guest Post by Nicola

You know we loving journaling here at Fertility Health Coaching. But if you find that Baby&Me is too much of a commetment at this point in time, you should check out the Nurture Fertility Journal by: Nicola Salmon 

We are in an era of information overload. Wherever you look, there are a thousand and one different ways you can improve your fertility, but how do you know what works and what is just a waste of time and money?

Whether you are trying to work out what supplements to take, which foods to eat or how to reduce your stress, I bet you’ve felt “fertility FOMO” (FOMO = fear of missing out, we all like a good fertility acronym right?) at least once before. Maybe this one, will be “the one”?

So where do you start?

How on earth can you possibly decide what is going to work without a degree in medicine and 100 hours researching each option?

The good news is you don't need either of those things. What you do need is some curiosity and a willingness to try something different. 

Instead of DOing, we need more BEing.

Our bodies are incredible things. There are thousands upon thousands of different processes going on in our bodies every minute that we don't even have to think about. We don't have to tell our body to digest our food when we eat or increase our heart rate when we exercise. The body has the capacity to run and heal itself. 

When we start to listen to our bodies, something magical happens. All those annoying symptoms and aches become your bodies way of communicating with you. 

When you start to listen, you learn what foods, supplements and habits will help you live your healthiest life. This is where journaling becomes the best tool you can use.

You can start with a simple notepad and pen. Each day write down some simples things such as:
What and when you ate. (No calorie counting or judgement, just what it was)
What and when you drank.
How your energy varied throughout the day
How your mood varied throughout the day
When and how you moved your body
Any symptoms, aches, pains etc
Where you are in your menstrual cycle
How much sleep you got

With this information, you will begin to see patterns. They will be completely personal to you. Here are some examples

1 - You have trouble getting to sleep if you drink coffee at 5pm.
2 - Exercising in the morning makes your feel productive all day.
3 - You get a headache if you haven’t drunk enough water the day before.
4 - Your mood and energy will change depending on your cycle.
5 - You feel bloated in the afternoon after having milk on your cereal in the morning.

This information is priceless. It’s your personal instruction book to leading a healthy life.  

Once you get started with this practice, you will notice your body changing as you react to what it is telling you. Finally you'll have the power to make a difference in your health. 

Nicola Salmon is a fertility coach, acupuncturist and author of the Nurture Fertility Journal. She is dedicated to supporting women struggling to get pregnant and help them make the best decisions around their health and wellbeing. 

She has struggled with her own fertility issues and strongly believes that no-one should travel this path alone. Whatever your story, Nicola will support you to choose what is right for you and feel safe in the knowledge that you have made the best possible decision.

Friday, 9 February 2018

HE SAID, SHE SAID - Guest Post by Tiffany


He said, she said. 2 Versions of the Same Fertility Journey & How to Deal!
Without a doubt, most people marry someone who is the polar opposite of them in many ways and areas.  
I have worked with a lot of couples and time after time, conflict arises from those differences.  What is almost humorous about this is that often times it was those “differences” that first attracted us to them.

CASE IN POINT:  In general, I am what some would call in the world of Psychology and Personalities, a “Type A” person.  When asked to describe me in 3 words, my husband has said, “Intentional, Driven and Thoughtful.”  Yep, you guessed it.  I married a “Type B”.  I would describe my husband as “Strong (of heart, character and body), Kind and Genuine.”  He is very black and white, and I can see the grey.  He grew up in a small rural town in Pennsylvania as the youngest child in a family of boys enjoying the great outdoors, while I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland as the oldest child in a family of girls who enjoyed shopping and educational activities.

When we first met in college, it was his laid back nature, kindness and unwavering peace and stability that I was attracted to.  For him, it was my “go get ‘em” self motivation, drive and strategic purpose to life that was attractive to him.  Shortly into our marriage, I quickly realized that the words of the wise Pastor that did our pre-marital counseling started to ring true and play loudly on repeat in my head...  “Your initial attraction, will become your biggest frustration.”  WHOA… drop the mic right here!

The initial attraction of my husband’s laid back ways started to get on my nerves as I found myself wanting to say to him (while running around the house completing a list a mile long), “can you get up and do something.”  Coincidentally, he found himself after a long week at work wanting to say to me, “can you sit down and chill for a minute,” despite his initial attraction to my “get ‘er done” approach to life.

Throughout seventeen plus years of marriage we could’ve let our differences frustrate us.  We could’ve let our differences separate us.  We could’ve let our differences define us.  Instead we learned how to let our differences improve us!  We see our differences as strengths, not weaknesses.  We learned to VALUE our differences instead of letting them annoy us.

Maybe you and your spouse are dealing with infertility and just maybe you married someone different than you.  You both will “see” the journey differently.  You both will “value” different parts of the process.  One of you is probably a “feeler” and one of you is probably a “thinker”.  You both will experience and respond to the ups and downs of the rollercoaster ride of trying to conceive differently.  So how do you navigate your fertility journey with someone who is different than you?  Well, here are 6 Tips:

1. Identify the strengths that each of you bring to the table. Utilize and focus on these.
2.Identify what matters most to you as a couple and then choose to focus on those important big things.
3.Make decisions together.
4.Choose to laugh instead of getting frustrated.  When your spouse does a piece of stupid or is acting in a way that doesn’t make sense or is “different” than you would’ve done it… laugh and move on. It probably isn’t worth losing your “peace” over.
5.Put yourself in their shoes.  Try to see the situation from their perspective.  
6.Be quick to forgive and ask for forgiveness..

“You can be right or you can be happy.” I’m not sure who said this quote first, but I want to be happy.  Don’t get me wrong, I like to be right...ok, I LOVE to be right… but I CHOOSE my battles and I LOVE-LOVE to be happy:)
Just For Fun: Ask your spouse to describe you in 3 words;)

Relationship Expert and 3x Surrogate, Tiffany Jo Baker spends her time helping couples birth their dreams and navigate the road and relationships well while trying to conceive.  Married for over 17 years to her polar opposite, yet best friend, together they have built a life and family based on faith, core values, humor and forgiveness.  She loves to laugh, eat french fries, find amazing deals and create new memories.

Tiffany Jo Baker MA, CLC
Couples Life & Fertility Support Coach (+3x Surrogate)
@TiffanyJoBaker IG/FB

Join my private Facebook group with tips, encouragement and community with TTC couples just like you 



P.S. Wouldn't it be amazing to have support, peace and a plan during your fertility journey?  As a 3x Surrogate and a Couples Life & Fertility Support Coach, I help couples birth their dreams and navigate the road and relationships well while trying to conceive.  Don't miss my Free Online Class "How to Try to Have a Baby Without Losing Your Man or Your Mind" where I share 5 Keys for a Strong Marriage & Smooth Journey While Trying to Conceive.  You can find the information for this class and more free resources, as well as all about my Couples Fertility Support Coaching Services at www.TiffanyJoBaker.com

Friday, 2 February 2018

Looking at the basics to start rebooting your fertility - Guest Post by Kathryn from Routes to Nutrition

When it comes to boosting fertility I like to suggest starting with the basics and ensure the body is really working at its best ability. I think the basics are all to often overlooked.
NUTRITION
·      I believe nutrition is one of the foundations to fertility. Nutrients are the building bricks to health and make everything work in the body. 
·       Ensure you are well nourished, eating nutrient rich foods and increase naturally fertility boosting foods.
·       Minerals such as magnesium are key, many people are deficient. Stress and PCOS can affect levels. Magnesium deficiency can contribute to spasms in the fallopian tubes, making it more difficult for an embryo to safely implant into the uterus. Male fertility is also associated with magnesium deficiency. (Source: Magnesium Miracle, Carolyn Dean)
·       However, it is all about balance with nutrients, you need to be careful not to imbalance other minerals by taking lots of magnesium. Work with an HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis) specialist to help you balance your minerals. 
·       Herbal remedies can be particularly powerful for fertility, some provide a good source of nutrients, others have a role in balancing hormones. Red Raspberry leaf is a really good option to boost fertility. 
GUT
Next, you want to ensure your gut is nice and healthy, so it can process your nutrients. As well as ensuring you keep out the bad bugs and have enough of the good bacteria. If you have digestive issues, you may want to heal your gut. Here’s just a few ideas of how to heal the gut:
·       Aloe Vera.
·       Healing herbs such as Slippery Elm.
·       Gelatin, collagen and bone broth. 
·       Depending on your symptoms, you may want to consider increasing your stomach acid, in order to process your nutrients. 
It’s best to work with a nutritionist to determine which are the best ways to heal for you, as we all have different needs or issues. 
LIVER
·       Ensure your liver is happy and healthy. Happy livers are important for many reasons including helping the body remove toxins and excess hormones.
·       Over the years we can accumulate toxins in the body (e.g. poor diet, excess hormones, alcohol, birth control medication, pesticides, cigarette smoke, infections such as candida).
·       This build up of toxins can affect how well the liver works. If the liver is not working to the best of its ability, toxins aren’t removed via the bowels or urine, instead they can get redistributed in the body. This in turn may affect health and fertility.
·       Preventing your baby from these harmful toxins is also important.
Through careful and very gentle detox support such as castor oil packs, sunflower lecithin or whey protein, I can help you to have a happy liver!
UTERINE HEALTH
For optimum uterine health, it requires good circulation. This ensures the uterus is properly cleansed every month and that efficient hormonal balance is occurring. Specific herbs, massage and other techniques can help, such as castor oil packs on the uterine area.
COLON
Regular elimination from the colon is essential for detoxification and good health.
Balancing magnesium, potassium and sodium is key for constipation issues. Oxypowder or Dandelion root tea are good, yet gentle ways to get the colon moving. 
Ensuring the body is working as a WHOLE is a really good 
way you can help to boost your fertility. 
Please note: cleanses or detoxes are not suggested during pregnancy.

Kathryn is qualified nutritionist and can help you in all the areas discussed above. 
Check out http://routestonutrition.co.uk for more information & find her on Facebook.

Friday, 26 January 2018

The Long Process of my "please don't call it a miracle" Natural Pregnancy

After eight (nine now) years of dealing with infertility, I've heard ever "helpful" comment in the book, but now I'm getting my all-time favourite "It's a miracle!" Now don't get me wrong, there are situations you just can’t explain, and science is unable to explain everything - as of yet. So using the word miracle in these situations is 100% appropriate. I do believe there are some woman out there that have miracle pregnancies and (more so) babies! But I don’t believe that my natural pregnancy is in any way shape or form a miracle after eight years of never getting pregnant without a truckload of fertility drugs. Nor do I believe my pregnancy with our first son somehow magical fixed my body or taught my body what it should have known how to do all along.

And frankly, it annoys the sh*t out of me when people tell me “it’s a miracle” or “you were relaxed about it all” or “you hear of that all the time, women getting pregnant naturally after IVF. Your body just knows what to do now.” No. No, it’s f*cking not (at least for me). It’s a result of gaining the knowledge about what my fertility issues were and then put in the incredibly hard work and sacrifice to fix it. I know many of these commits come from people who have never felt with infertility issues and I forgive them for their naivety. But for all those dealing with infertility and waiting for your miracle- I’m here to tell you, you’ll get there much quicker if you stop believing the hype that this kind of sh*t “just” happens. 


The Long Process of my 
"please don't call it a miracle" 
Natural Pregnancy:
This is the short version.
If you want the long version start here.
Even though I have a nine-year journey, I haven't spent the whole nine years trying to fix my fertility health. In the grand scheme of things, I've only spent a small portion of it working hard and sacrificing in many different aspects of my life to help achieve my dream family. The first five years of my journey, I had unexplained infertility - the shittiest type of infertility you can have. At least when you know your issue, you can work towards fixing it. But with unexplained, you're left fighting your way through the dark. So let's jump to the part of when I found out my reason: After our second failed IVF, we did immune testing and discovered I had High NK Cells. We did our first FET with a truckload of immune-suppressing drugs and finally got a BFP, but it sadly ended in an early miscarriage. I luckily had already decided to change my diet and lifestyle, so when it was suggested to me to make the transition onto an Autoimmune Protocol (AIP),   it was that much easier (but still incredibly hard all at the same time.) I gave myself time to heal from the miscarriage and work on my diet before we started our second FET.

How nine months of pregnancy increased my fertility health:
As I said before, I don’t think getting pregnant magical fixes anything. What I do believe it does is gives your body time to heal. This is because you start taking care of yourself (or at least you should be) more than what you would be doing if you weren’t pregnant. Also, it gives some women's bodies time to, let's say relax. For example;  women with endometriosis (a condition were tissue that normally lines the uterus, grow elsewhere within the body) pregnancy can “suppresses” the condition and “those nine months of pregnancy are very healing to her pelvis,” states Alice Domar, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School and executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health. 

For me, I went hardcore on my diet & lifestyle three months before my second FET. And when I got pregnant with little man, I kept up my strict diet. In all honesty, mostly because I was deadly afraid of losing the baby and I didn’t want to do anything to inflame my already overactive immune system. But also because I was on a few too many immune-suppressing drugs, and I wanted to help negate the possible side effects. Secondly, my mission wasn’t to get pregnant anymore - it was to have a truly healthy baby and switch back on whatever good genes we have to offer this little one -epigenetics people - the first nine months shapes the rest of our child’s life! So these 9+ months gave my body time to truly heal. I was able to fix my leaky gut, therefore calming down my overactive immune system. After little man was born, I continued with an AIP diet and still do to this day (even though I’m not nearly as strict). But this doesn’t always mean success, especially when you're doing IVF/EFT. You're still playing a numbers game and just because you have "healthy" looking embryos doesn't mean they actually are. Only with genetic testing - PGS - are you going to know the true quality of your embryos. 

I do believe that pregnancy can have the opposite effects on a women's body. Meaning it can trigger underlining issue, especially on your hormones, thyroid and adrenals. Check out the post on Secondary Infertility.


Life doesn’t alway go the way you think it should, 
even when you’re doing everything right:
So when it came time for our final FET, I was ready. More than ready! I knew in my heart I had given my body time to heal, but we couldn’t afford the testing to prove it. So we did the exact same protocol as we did with little man and I went hardcore with diet & lifestyle (the best I could with a toddler in tow). But as we all know, life just doesn’t work out the way we think it should. We had two frozen embryos left & the embryologist liked the look of them. It was all or nothing! We were confident, and I tested early for the first time. It was positive. But a week and a bit later, as I sat in Spec Savers, I knew it was over. A few days later I had a scan to confirm what I already knew. It was hard, my husband was away (again) & I was on my own. Maybe we were both just a little too confident about the whole thing - we had won before, how could we lose this time around. We both feel that that’s nature and at the end of the day, no matter how hard we try, we can’t control everything. We didn't do PGS testing with our embryos, but can only guess they weren't as good as quality as we all thought they were. So that was that we were done with medical assistance (after eight years) and we would go on living our new lifestyle. We wouldn’t be using contraception, so technically we would be naturally trying, but not charting, testing or obsessing! 


The Natural Pregnancy: 
The fourth and latest pregnancy came two months after the last miscarriage. To say it was a shock is an understatement. I totally believed that I could get pregnant naturally. I've worked so hard on my diet & lifestyle, with the knowledge that reversing my NK Cells was doable and getting pregnant was possible. But not this soon, no way! You only hear about this kind of sh*t happening from your friend who knows someone who...... (You know that really annoying story that someone has told you along the way - insert roll of the eyes here) The miscarriage was still so fresh in our minds & we're in new territory - in 8 years I have NEVER been pregnant naturally. So it was hard to feel the overwhelming excitement I know we should have been feeling. The joy of a baby, the fact that I've healed my body & got my fertility health back, was overwhelming and anger set in. Yep- Anger! WTF!! But this is a whole other blog post. I also found myself sitting up in a panic that I had forgotten to take my injection or medication. It was the most bizarre feeling, and it would always take me a few moments to realise my current situation - no meds needed to support this pregnancy, again WTF! For those who have been through multiple IVFs/FETs, you'll know exactly how I felt. You somehow miss the medication schedule, the routine blood works and even the invasive scans - I haven't had one person look up my vagina yet this pregnancy! To say the least, it's been surreal.

So as you can see my natural pregnancy after eight years of infertility is in no way more of a miracle than your friend's pregnancy - which by the way "They weren't even trying!" (Another insert roll of the eyes here.) I can trace back to each step I took to get to where I am now. Yes, it was long and hard and even painful at times. But giving up wasn't an option. I can honestly say, even if we weren't lucky enough to be walking away from it all with two babies, I would have been able to walk away with the knowledge that we did everything we possibly could to give ourselves the best chance. And that my friend is one of the most valuable things to have.

If you'd like support in your journey or have any questions Let's Talk
 Please remember that this is simply my story and what I have gone through. These are my opinions, that I have formed over the years, through trial and error, study, reading, listening and observing. I am open to change, challenges and new scientific developments. What works for me, may not work for you. I am not a doctor, and all medical advice should be gotten from a qualified professional. If you feel like your doctor isn't reading from the same nutrition and lifestyle book as you are (or want to be), find one that is!

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Not your Traditional-and-trite “New Year’s Resolutions” for Trying to Conceive

New Years is all about resolutions - "the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc." dictionary.com But waiting for January first and having the added pressure of the New Year can be overwhelming for many. Stephanie Roth from yourfertileself.com shares with us her take on traditional-and-trite “New Year’s Resolutions” and her top 7 "opportunities" that you can make room for in your life, to help you on your fertility journey. 

I never found setting resolutions to be a particularly valuable exercise. The few times I tried, I’d set resolutions like, “stop biting my nails,” “spend less money,” or my perennial favorite – “be a better person.”
Well, my resolutions would always crash and burn. Within 2 weeks, I was biting my nails again (a habit I still struggle with!), and I never set a budget. And how in the world was I supposed to know if I was being a better person or not? I never killed anybody, that has to count for something.
Four years ago on New Years, I rethought the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. I’d been trying to conceive for almost a year, and in that time, I’d had 2 miscarriages; a Diminished Ovarian Reserve diagnosis; a grim prediction that I had less than a 2% chance of getting pregnant; and a whole lot of negative pregnancy tests.
At New Year’s 2012-13, I was also in the middle of an imposed-upon-me break from fertility treatment. I’d had an IUI cycle cancelled just before the holidays.  Due to overall scheduling issues, that one month off turned into 3 months away from the fertility clinic.
This pause in treatment was a blessing in disguise. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on my motherhood dreams in a way that I hadn’t while consumed by the relentless grind of fertility treatment.
For the record, having a baby is not a New Year’s Resolution. It’s a goal.   Think of the resolutions as the intentional path you set to reach your goal. How you will do it.
I realized that it was time to clearly define the actions I needed to take to achieve my goal of becoming a mother. Resolutions, if you will.
If you’ve set becoming a mother as your primary goal for 2018, here’s a list of 7 New Year’s “Resolutions” you might consider.

1. Resolve to get help when you need it.

Some people are able to get pregnant without outside help. Others, like me and maybe like you, need a little extra help. Now is not the time to hide behind your pride and try to convince yourself that you’re invincible. If you’ve been trying for at least a year (6 months if you’re over 35), it’s time to call in the big guns.
Your fertility doctor will develop the right treatment plan for you based on your specific medical issues and concerns.
If you’re already in treatment, you can cross one resolution off the list as achieved! Hurray! Good for you! 
2. Resolve to seek out emotional support when times get hard.
Because they will get hard. Trying to conceive is no bed of roses, and it’s not for the faint of heart. There will be times when you’re wondering to yourself how much one person can possibly endure, both physically and emotionally.
There are lots of places to turn to for support during those times. Your partner, sister, best friend, and other friends and family are all great places to start.
Sometimes, however, we may feel like we need more focused support from others who’ve specifically been down this path or more professional help. This is a great time to investigate working with a fertility coach, seeking out in-person support groups in your area, finding online or virtual groups, or working with a therapist.
3. Resolve to nourish your body through healthy food and movement.
 The connection between our physical health and our fertility is undeniable. How and what we eat can make or break our efforts in trying to conceive. Incorporating more whole foods into your diet, while minimizing things like sugar and processed foods, will go a long way toward balancing your hormones and regulating your ovulation. Issues with ovulation are the number one cause of female infertility.
In addition to improving your fertility, eating a clean diet will improve your overall health as well, reducing inflammation and your chances of developing chronic, long-term illnesses.
 The other key piece to our physical health is moving our bodies. Experts recommend that a good exercise plan, if you’re trying to conceive, is 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, of moderate-intensity exercise. Aim for a combination of cardio and strength-building exercise.  If that’s too challenging for you right now, gentle movement like walking or yoga is terrific. Here are some other suggestions for incorporating exercise into your life.
Exercise helps improve your circulation, work your heart and other muscles, and keep your weight down, all of which are important to your health and fertility.
4. Resolve to get enough rest.
Not only will you feel better, but your fertility will also be improved. Many of our hormones are replenished while we sleep, including some of the reproductive hormones.
Try these strategies to get 8-9 hours of uninterrupted, quality sleep. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed each day, and your fertility will thank you.
5. Resolve to be gentle with yourself.
 It’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves with others, especially people with children or who are expecting babies. Those feelings invariably creep up, but I hope you can remember that

There’s nothing wrong with you;

You’re doing the best that you can; and

You’re beautiful just as you are.


When you have those feelings of extreme stressenvy or self-doubt, it’s a great time to reach out to the support networks you’ve cultivated for yourself in resolution #2.

6. Resolve to reclaim your life.
 It might sound counterintuitive, but don’t be laser-focused on getting pregnant. Our bodies crave the balance that comes with focusing our attention on more than one priority.
While having a baby might be your biggest priority, it’s important to find and nurture other priorities in your life. Things like your passions, hobbies, friends and other relationships. Think back to before you started trying to have a baby, what were the things that made you feel so happy and alive?
Give yourself the time to do them. You’ll not only feel happier, but you’ll recharge your batteries for continuing on your fertility path.
This is a jam-packed list, and it’s a lot to take on. If you tried to do all of this at once, your resolutions would meet the same fate as mine used to. Pick what feels most important to pay attention to right now, and focus on that for a little while. Maybe after a few months, it will be time to add another.
The most important thing and this is the final resolution –
7. Resolve to take some action each day, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, toward your goal of becoming a mother.
One day, it may be going out for a walk in nature. The next day, it might be eating a delicious, fertility-boosting meal. Then, it might be lunch with a friend. The important thing is to do purposefully and mindfully do something every day, schedule it, stick to it, and have faith that collectively these actions are bringing you closer and closer to your ultimate dream of motherhood.
What are your intentions for 2018 around your fertility goal?
(originally posted at B Fit, B Fertile on 1/5/17 - 
Featured on Huffington Post 1/5/17 and Stephanie Roth)

Stephanie Roth
Fertility Consultant & Coach


Le'ts connect!  Find me on FacebookInstagramPinterest and Twitter
Read my blogs: Your Fertile Self and B Fit, B Fertile, for Conceive Fertility Hospital

Monday, 27 November 2017

12 Not-So-Sweet facts about sugar and how it can be hurting your fertility health

For many women suffering from PCOS, endometriosis, hormonal issues and autoimmune issues, sugar is one of the most harmful substances you can be ingesting. From the obvious sugary foods to foods that turn into sugar (like refined carbohydrates), these can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes. Over time leading to irregular menstrual cycles, disrupted ovulation patterns, insulin resistance and adrenal fatigue. I’m not here to tell you that you have to kiss your cookies or bread goodbye forever, but you need to understand that all forms of sugar can be having a significant impact on your ability to get pregnant.

As a society, we’ve got a problem with sugar. Our on again, off again relationship with the sweet stuff is damaging our fertility in more ways than one. 25 to 30 grams of sugar a day is the suggested amount, depending on what association or organisation you ask. The World Health Organisation backs this up and recommends that adults get less than 10 percent of their daily calories from not only added sugar, but also natural sugars in honey, syrup, or fruit juice. Ideally, that works to 25 grams for a 2,000 calorie diet. That's six to seven teaspoons of sugar a day- not a lot when you start to add it up. Many of us are unaware of the dangers of sugar on our fertility and have little or no true facts. This post isn't here to tell you to stop eating all things sugar. It's here to get you thinking about sugar in more ways than one and to recognise how much sugar you're actually eating. So let's look into some nuggets of knowledge and interesting facts about all things sugar - remember knowledge is power!
1. There’s sugar hiding in plain sight. You think you’re being good by staying away from the Coke and the office doughnuts, but added sugar is present in 74 percent of packaged foods in supermarkets, according to a report in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And don’t be fooled by all the “healthy” paleo bars and snacks. One little bar can hold up to 18 grams of sugar in it - that’s over 1/2 your daily intake.

2. Every time you eat foods high in sugar, your pancreas must secrete insulin to convert the sugar in your blood into energy. Repeated frequently, you may develop insulin resistance, leading to high levels of insulin, which can inhibit ovulation, autoimmune issues and can cause metabolic disorders, including PCOS. 

3. All carbs are not created equal and the carbs you find in bread, pasta and breakfast cereals will make your blood sugar levels skyrocket (this is called a high glycemic effect) and then you'll come down with a crash. Repeated blood sugar level spikes from eating these types of foods, put stress on your internal organs. This effect causes a fight or flight reaction with your adrenal glands, and they begin to produce more cortisol and adrenaline to try and replenish sugar levels. Repeated consumption of these poor carbs signals this effect over and over, weakening the adrenal glands and slowing hormone production, also increasing your chances of insulin resistance leading to higher risks of developing chronic issues that affect your fertility. So you may think you're not eating sugar when you eat these types of carbs, but your body does, and that's all that matters. On top of that, sugar is put into a lot packaged bread, including "whole grain" kinds and cereals. A beloved blow of Weetabix comes in at 4.4g of sugar per 100g, and Special K has 12g of sugar per 100g; and you haven't even added fruit,  honey, low-fat yoghurt or skimmed milk yet - we'll talk about those later.
4. Sugar can have negative affects your immune system. Eating just a tablespoon can lower your immunity for up to four hours, so imagine what eating processed carbs for every meal or just one sugary snack daily is doing to your body - something to really think about if you have autoimmune issues.

5. Many low-fat foods, including milk, yoghurts, snacks, cereals and ready meals contain more sugar than their “full fat” equivalents - in some cases more than five times as much! Most of these products are promoted as a healthy-eating option and marketed to women wanting to eat a low-fat diet. But as many as you know, for some reason you just can't lose weight - the simple reason for this is because you're consuming way more sugar than you should be. And this can lead to any of the fertility issues we talked about before - PCOS, endometriosis, hormonal issues and autoimmune issues. an excellent way to remember that low-fat is not always the best: They're taking out all the yummy fat, so to make it taste good they have to replace it. Most likely, it's going to be replaced with sugar!! 

6. Obviously, there’s sugar in alcoholic drinks and I’m sure you can google what drinks have the lowest amount of sugar in them. But alcohol itself has a confusing effect on blood sugar levels, as it prevents the liver from producing glucose. One consequence of this is that hypoglycemia can occur after a night of drinking - in sort your blood sugar levels drop, meaning your adrenals will have to go into overdrive to make up for this (we talked all about the adrenals in number nugget of knowledge.) Now, a glass or two every once in awhile I’m sure is not going to have a big overall impact on your blood sugar levels. But if red wine is your best friend (she’s one of mine) then a friendship break might be needed for a little while.

7. While fruits are full of goodness including Copper, Biotin, Potassium, Fiber, Vitamin B6 & C, Manganese, many of us don’t realise how much sugar is actually in our fruit and remember sugar is sugar. Obviously, the primary sugar which you’ll find in fruit is fructose, “the sugar that’s most damaging to our health.” (The Better Baby Book by L. Asprey, MD & D. Asprey). High fructose levels go directly to the liver, where the organ repackages it as blood fats called triglycerides. These high fructose levels can also contribute to insulin resistance a big issue for a lot of women dealing with fertility issues. Now a piece or two a day will do you good, just remember to add it to your total sugar count. (Great website to check out the sugar levels in all different types of fruits) I used to eat loads of fruit, thinking I was being good. But in hindsight, I was pushing my sugar count WAY UP! Don't forget your beloved smoothies. Look at the sugar line next time you pick up a bottle of Innocent, Naked or Savse - I think you'll be amazed at how much sugar is in one little drink!!
8. It's not all about you either. Your male partner has a significant role to play in creating life - like 50%!! And surprise, surprise the effect of sugar on male fertility can be just as damaging. Men who eat too much sugar can suffer from insulin resistance, which can have an impact on their hormone disruption due to the overstimulation of the adrenal glands. Sugar can also have a big effect on their immunity, leaving them open to illnesses which may have an impact on sperm count.

9. There are at least 61 different names the food producers have come up with to try and trick us on the nutrient labels. Corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup, Dextrose or crystal dextrose, Fructose, Maltose, Lactose, Sucrose, Glucose, Evaporated cane juice or fruit juice, Caramel, Carob syrup, Brown sugar, Raw sugar, Dextrin and maltodextrin, Rice Syrup, Molasses, Evaporated corn sweetener, Confectioner’s powdered sugar, Agave nectar, Other fruit nectars (for example, pear nectar),  Cane crystal, Cane sugar, Corn Sweetener, Crystalline Fructose, Dextrose, Fruit juice concentrates, Honey, Invert sugar, Lactose, Maltose, Malt syrup, Molasses, Raw sugar, Sucrose and Syrup. Using a name for sugar that the consumer might not be aware of, makes it easier to skim over a long ingredient name in a hurry during a rushed shop and inadvertently take in more sugar than you want to. 

10.Natural Sweeteners such as Coconut Sugar, Honey, Maple Syrup, Stevia and Blackstrap Molasses to name a few STILL have sugar in them! Don't be fooled by the word natural - this doesn't mean because it's natural you can have as much as you'd like. Your body still has to process that sugar and the same effect happen within your body when you eat it. One teaspoon of honey has 5 grams of sugar, and my guess is you use a little more than one teaspoon on top of your oats or in your daily smoothie!?! And although all these Natural Sweeteners do have many things good for you and may be called superfoods - just be conscious that the bad effects of the sugar might out the way the other benefits you can get from these Natural Sweeteners. 
11. Don't be fooled by artificial sweeteners including Aspartame and Sucralose aka Splenda. They hold a host of their own potential health problems and have been shown to increases blood glucose levels similar to sugar. Click the links for more info.

12. According to brain scans, sugar is as addictive as cocaine (Forbesand can cause major cravings, leaving you wanting more and more and more! We’ve all been there, and it’s a hard cycle to get off of. Start slowly, pick one or two "surgery" items listed above and cut them out of your life and work slowly on cutting them all out. Recognise what kind of person you are - can you have the occasional surgery snack/meal or do you just need to go cold turkey and not give in for 30 days plus!?! This is a big factor in being successful. 

And there they are - I hope you have learnt something new or have been reminded of a little nugget of knowledge you've forgotten. I know how it feels to watch your friends get pregnant on a “normal” diet and you’ll see others around you be able to get pregnant easily on frankly a sh*t diet, including alcohol and drugs. It’s unfair, but it’s life. The sooner you accept that’s not going to be you the less struggle and heartache you’ll have. We all have different genetics, and yours is what has lead you here. Don't compare yourself to others - it's a waste of time. 

Be mindful of what you're eating. Find a diet that works for you - start with (as much as you can) organic, real food. By doing this, you’re giving your body the nutrient dense natural building blocks you need to rebuild and support the necessary functions of your reproductive system. Through a clean diet, you can take control of your fertility and promote the natural production and balance of your hormones, a healthy menstrual cycle, egg development (which starts three months before ovulation), embryo development, implantation, and gestation.
If you'd like support in your journey or have any questions Let's Talk

 Please remember that this is simply my story and what I have gone through. These are my opinions, that I have formed over the years, through trial and error, study, reading, listening and observing. I am open to change, challenges and new scientific developments. What works for me, may not work for you. I am not a doctor, and all medical advice should be gotten from a qualified professional. If you feel like your doctor isn't reading from the same nutrition and lifestyle book as you are (or want to be), find one that is!